Brooklyn-born. Jersey-raised. Educator. Fitness lover. Rocker. Husband. Father. Son. Ancona shares his take on IG bios.
This doozy of a conversation with Bagel's "8th best friend" is for anyone out there who has resisted starting something, struggles with follow through, sets goals and sometimes doesn't stick to them, or even feels overcommitted. We break down the importance of both, "just starting," and "showing up," and why it's crucial to give and get feedback.
"Unless you get started, you're always going to remain where you are."
Mentioned In This Episode:
Bagel: [00:00:00] What happens when you put two best friends in a virtual room together and turn on the mics? Yeah. You guessed it, this episode. This one is for anyone out there who is resisting starting something, struggles with follow-through, sets goals and sometimes doesn't stick to them, or even feels overcommitted.
We break down the importance of both just starting and showing up. And why it's crucial to give and get feedback. Ancona specifically walks us through examples of commitments in his own life to illustrate the importance of overcoming fear and anxiety to just start and keep showing up, emphasizing feedback as the vehicle to either keep you moving forward or to jump off the moving train.
No further introduction necessary. Pour yourself a nice brew and gear up for episode 16 of the Live Your Values podcast with none other than Mike Ancona.
I actually almost just said welcome to the to the Count Rockula podcast. You know what. We're just going to do a Count Rockula episode on the Live Your Values podcast. No I'm just kidding.
Ancona: [00:01:10] We're going to do top 10 things that Ancona values.
Bagel: [00:01:14] I thought you were a top five list kind of guy.
Ancona: [00:01:17] I do like any type of list. I think 10 when there's a lot of playing field. Five when you're trying to really just rank the most important things I think, as we've seen in the Count Rockula, that six to 10 the conversation is a little bit thinner. The songs are objectively nowhere near as good to fit the criteria that the top five have or do.
Bagel: [00:01:41] Yeah that that does tend to happen. But at the same time there's usually some surprises and things that make it interesting. And then it's like it kind of leaves you it starts to water your mouth a little bit. And then you're like Oh I kind of want to know what's in that top five now It's like it's like the setup.
Ancona: [00:01:57] Kind of like your friends If you were to rank your top 10 friends. Your friends that are number six through 10 water your mouth and leave you.
Bagel: [00:02:06] Somehow that kind of almost fits into the intro I was just going to read to introduce you to the audience. Kind of we're going to say an official welcome. So, welcome. Welcome to the Live Your Values podcast I'm your host Mike Bagel. And today I am beyond excited, I think I am beyond beyond excited to welcome our guests for today's episode Mike Ancona. So I have a few things I want to say to introduce you. Don't worry, it's not going to be anywhere near as long as your best man speech. Cause you know we'd we'd be done with the episode at that point. So here are some things: long time caller first time listener, fellow Yankees fan. Oh is that where you how you're going to introduce yourself?
I should I should have let that one go. See I see now see now it won't be replicated because it's inauthentic.
Ancona: [00:02:55] Yeah I know at you are you are you are something special. No that is great I thought about like two things and that was one of the things I wanted to have on here was to say that. But I'm honored that you that you were thinking the same thing.
Bagel: [00:03:10] There you go. So there may be a theme here: fellow Yankees fan, deep thinker, Virgo, best friends, I wanted to say. So because, What can I call you Like my number eight friend? Like going back to another conversation. You're like six through 10. Just just water the mouth a little bit I just think it'd be funny to call you like my number eight friend even though I don't I don't count that way.
Ancona: [00:03:37] Well yes you do. Cause you said it. So something's happening here subconsciously. Why did you go eight
Bagel: [00:03:43] Cause I, Oh yeah there you go. The brain was on August.
Ancona: [00:03:47] Okay.
Bagel: [00:03:47] The Virgo thing.
Ancona: [00:03:48] And then that's where the next thing you went to.
Bagel: [00:03:50] Yeah I usually use seven as my exaggeration number like 17, 37 I always go seven.
Ancona: [00:03:58] All right.
Bagel: [00:03:59] I decided consciously I wanted to put a different number and I just went up one I guess to eight I'm going to continue, continue my introduction of you.
Ancona: [00:04:08] Other seven other people? No, your introduction can wait. Are there seven other people that you can rattle off off the top of your head that you'd like more than me?
Bagel: [00:04:17] I don't I don't want to play this game .
Ancona: [00:04:19] Layla's allowed to be ahead of me. Outside of that, nobody else.
Bagel: [00:04:23] Layla there you go. Number one is Layla. Co-visionaries, on-, this is going to bring us back, an online wrestling league, a real life wrestling league, a rock band, a rock podcast, many vacations in the Poconos. Most of which were fun and merging friend groups along the way. And then some of our subtle differences because we don't have everything uncommon. Let's be hones t . A loud mouth Italian from Brooklyn versus a soft-spoken Jew from Westchester, originally although we met in Marlboro New Jersey. Jets versus Broncos. I know you have referred to me often as the glue that holds the friends together but I think you are the cement that binds the friend group together over the years. And and then we sort of joked about the authenticity thing when we were prepping for this podcast. And I and you actually made a comment that like struck me a little bit. Where you were like I mean people don't want to be or can't be authentic that that kind of sucks. And I was like yeah it does. But you tell it like it is And I know that that's not everything about being authentic but telling it like it is versus being diplomatic, I think those are some some differences that you and I have.
Ancona: [00:05:46] That sounds like a really nice way of saying I'm an asshole.
Bagel: [00:05:49] Yeah you can read through the lines on that one but welcome. That is my official Welcome to Mike Ancona to the Live Your Values podcast.
Ancona: [00:05:58] Is that how you welcome all of your guests? You call them subtle assholes?
Bagel: [00:06:02] Pretty much most of the time without them knowing, that's the diplomatic piece that I was talking.
Ancona: [00:06:07] Well I'm I'm flattered that you that you had me on. And I'm really excited to be here. This is awesome I'm looking around my room as if I'm actually in the room with you. Like I'm looking around like, golly look at me, I'm here. I can't believe I've made it back into my office where I've spent the last six months. No, but this is awesome. I'm super excited to be on an episode and I never thought you would ask me. That sounded really sad and pathetic but I never anticipated or expected to be on here . I didn't know if it fit with anything that you you were valuing for the podcast. And I that I didn't feel that it was like an obligation to I go I gotta get I gotta get all my friends on. If I got this friend on then I got I got this friend on. I mean you did have Joel on before me I know that he's very happy about that but.
Bagel: [00:06:49] I'm sure he is.
Ancona: [00:06:50] Yes he is. But no I'm actually, I think and this would probably tie into the conversation that we have today, tonight, into early tomorrow morning. That you you're having me on an episode that we're talking about you know just doing things, I guess. And and I'm on an episode that what episode is this? Like 20 25?
Bagel: [00:07:13] If it's released next it'll be 16 which would probably will be.
Ancona: [00:07:16] So you're so an increment of eight look at that.
Bagel: [00:07:19] You go
Ancona: [00:07:21] Two eights, here right. It was a 16 still I mean I just think that's cooler to be on an episode that is you've got your footing now. And you've been doing this and it's been out and you've been receiving all this feedback that has been helping you and helping the podcast grow. And I think that's even cooler that I'm on now as opposed to Joel being on episode two. So
Bagel: [00:07:41] Yeah man, there was a little bit of buildup to like wanting to pick a good topic for us to talk about. Cause I feel like there are like infinite directions. I'm sure everybody just heard some of the stuff we've done together in our in our lives as friends. And I feel like there are like infinite places and directions we could go with with a conversation.
Ancona: [00:07:58] I I prefer to go in one direction. I try to have Lauren let me play, Lauren is my wife, I try to let have her allow a one direction song at our wedding. Cause it was 2013. They were all the craze. She said no.
Bagel: [00:08:13] Oh wow Lauren put the kibosh on that. Actually, that's not surprising.
Ancona: [00:08:16] No it's not. Yeah. She kind of balances my everything. All jokes aside, I knew you were going to have me on for this topic I just didn't know when you were going to ask.
Bagel: [00:08:26] Interesting.
Ancona: [00:08:26] Yeah I mean, I think I knew that probably once you, once the podcast happened. So I can't even say once you were serious about it, because once you were serious about it like it happened. Which is the coolest thing that I'm so proud of you doing this and I'm sure we can talk about that later. And but I knew this was going to be, this was going to be it.
Bagel: [00:08:48] Even though I was a little surprised to hear you say that, now that I think about it I'm not. I'm not because this is something you and I have talked about a lot over the years and I I think we're going to get into some examples and some stories .
You and I have had a lot of conversations around perfectionism, and kind of like letting go of that. And how is that really serving you, and what does that what does that really stopping you from doing that sort of thing. And I feel like we could have gone in that direction. And maybe that's going to come up through the lens of the conversation we're going to have. But ultimately the topic that I asked you to come in on, which apparently you knew from for like the last six months, is about just starting and then showing up. And we're going to get into it a bit more. But I'm going to be authentic. I, it's something I admire about you, is that I see that you are good at specifically the showing up piece. I think you're good at starting stuff too. But it's the showing up piece where I've struggled with that in the past, as you know. Of like I over commit to things. Right. And I know there's probably people listening where they're like, yeah I love to show up to stuff but then they do too many things. And that sometimes can burden you and get in the way. And yet there's also times where you have intentions of following through on things that you don't follow through on and kind of what that looks like.
So, I know we're going to get to that. Before we jump though into the topic, a little get to know you real quick for our audience even though probably a lot of people who know me, know you. But for those who don't know either one of us yet that well, tell us a little bit about you real quick. Who are you? What are you doing these days? What's something meaningful that you're working on? Just give give people a little bit of glimpse of who in Ancona is.
Ancona: [00:10:28] Being a better version of myself every day for my kids and wife to continue to love and respect. Aww.
Bagel: [00:10:38] You said that in a cheesy way but I feel like you're being authentic right now.
Ancona: [00:10:42] Sorry I had to get that out. Yeah no, of course I'm going to say it in a cheesy way because they're the people who know me. Or how am I going to say that without, like, them just kind of like giggling. Or like Ooohh. But no really, there's , I'm at a very good place in my life at 34 that I have not been at the I don't know other years that are not 34. Where the things that really matter most to me in, this sounds like the most cliche parent thing imaginable, are to have the love and respect from my two kids and my wife. And then and then you know, it trickles down to other parts of my life. To my colleagues, my friends, my number eight best friend that I'm looking at right now. You know, my parents, they're probably a little bit higher on the list. I know my mom probably will listen to this. Hi mom, I love you. But you know, like I learned and understood. And I think with you know maturity and wisdom, like any douchey 34 year old can talk about maturity and wisdom as if I have infinite amounts of it. That's really like that's who I am. Like I just want to be a great husband and a great friend to my wife. And I want to be a great role model. Someone that might kids look up to and respect. And I think if I could control those things I think everybody else will love me.
Bagel: [00:12:00] Yeah.
Ancona: [00:12:01] And if they don't, that's okay. Because at least then and as long as they can see the authentic version of who I am that is accurate. Cause that's important to me. But Yeah I mean that's that's who I am on a deep level. Right. Who am I, if you're going to run into me and we're going to strike up a conversation. I love the Broncos, like a lot. Like a lot, like cry in bed about how much I love them thinking about the super bowl win kind of a lot. I love the Yankees Sports are a huge part of my life. Fitness and weightlifting has been a huge part of my life for the last, I don't know since I was like 13. And it's just every phase of my life. It's just gotten more and more stronger, I guess. Music, obviously, I'm a music lover because we have our own podcast that we will probably plug many times to get some cross listeners with the count Rockula top 10 lists. And I'm a teacher. That should probably be higher up on my list of things that I am because that circles right in with my core values also. And who I am as a person. So I love teaching. I love teaching because I get to work with kids and it's the best job in the world. Maybe not this year. This year it kind of sucks. And at times the wonderful moments are definitely less frequent but but I still love it.
Bagel: [00:13:18] That didn't seem forced at all.
Ancona: [00:13:20] And this this year has been hard. But yeah, I mean, I don't know. It's it's hard with like an open question like that. Like who are you? Well it depends. Like who am I talk, who is our audience right now? The fellow Podcaster in me is like, you want to know who I am. Well, who am I talking to? Cause that's going to really dictate like what I need you to know about me to understand that. So that's always, always changing. That question, I can never really give a straight answer. But we'll start at the top. Husband, friend, father. Right. Period. Oh I hate those period noun descriptors. Husband period father period friend period Life-changer.
Bagel: [00:13:55] It's just a over sensationalized Instagram bio is all that really is right there.
Ancona: [00:14:01] Use a sentence. It's easier to just use a sentence. Don't make it, don't make each of those words so dramatic.
Bagel: [00:14:09] I thought you did a great job with introducing who you are to our audience who doesn't know you. You mentioned teacher and do you want to just mentioned the podcast that you host with? Your with the kids that you educate.
Ancona: [00:14:23] Edjumacate, of course. Because this podcast is going to come up probably a few other times in our conversation. So I am the host of the Monarch Experience podcast which is available in 18 countries and 34 States. Yeah right. We're, I'm like Pitbull, Mr Worldwide. Yeah, so I do a podcast with my students. Every episode we have a different topic and a different gaggle of students that join me. And we have a conversation about the topic and they can range from pop culture stuff to TV show reviews to things a lot more philosophical like how students or kids get bad reputations to you know anything school related stuff school related stuff within our school. But it's been awesome. It's been such a joy being able to do this and I'm a creative person. So I think that that's probably another really important thing for your listeners to know about me. Is like I am a very creative person. We'll probably talk about the creative process at some point too, but I'm a very creative person. If I don't have a creative outlet or multiple creative outlets I get very needy and cranky pants. And my wife can definitely attest to that. You were shaking your head. So you know that also. So it's it's just been such an amazing creative outlet. And I've learned so much about myself as a person compared to what else. That's such a dumb statement. I've learned a lot about myself as a hippo, so I've learned a lot. I've learned a lot about myself as a as a teacher. And I've learned a lot about myself as just kind of seeing what teens are going through and how they're kind of processing the world. You know, from the other side which is really cool.
Bagel: [00:15:55] Yeah, I remember feeling a sense of pride when you launched that podcast as well. A year and a half ago now, like early 2019 or something.
Ancona: [00:16:05] February of 2019.
Bagel: [00:16:06] And I just remember, like, just feeling like an overwhelming sense of pride in you as my friend. Being like, dude, like this guy that I used to you know, burn CDs with at the locker you know seventh grade when we were 12. Is like a teacher who is, you know, helping students like have a voice and talk about things that matter to them at that age. Which by the way I can never imagine myself working with kids, let alone at the age level that you're working at. It's a lot of people's worst nightmare but.
Ancona: [00:16:40] My worst hybrid date.
Bagel: [00:16:42] But yet you have found this this niche in like who you can connect with and be able to relate to as a teacher. Right. Not as as a kid, but I, it's just very cool. And the podcast is is really, really . I think it's like. Yeah. It is good. It's good. I mean you know, if you don't have kids and you're an adult like you might not be listening to a podcast about middle school students or or by them. But it is very cool to hear kind of the way that they think and what they're perceived problems and challenges are and the kind of the way they see the world. But also it's making me think when I was like when we were that age I was nowhere near as coherent and intelligent and had it together and as well connected as these kids are. And it's just like kind of amazing to see there's so much bad rap about like the kids and the next generation. And then you actually hear from these these students who are probably what 11 to 12 years old or so or 11 to 14 probably I
Ancona: [00:17:42] Yeah, yeah. Getting six, Cause I'm in a middle school. So we're six through eighth grade. So yeah 11 to 14.
Bagel: [00:17:47] Yeah. And you see like the thoughts that these kids can put together in terms of like what they're learning and like the synthesizing of information and all this kind of stuff. It's like really I don't know. It's hopeful more more than most things in the world right now, is like the younger generations have it together. It's kind of how I feel having listened to a few of your episodes.
Ancona: [00:18:08] I really appreciate that. And I appreciate a lot of things you said. And I definitely think that yes we are in good hands. I might my biggest trigger when it comes to anything educational is always hearing people talk about giving students voice. And it there's something really backwards about talking about giving students voice. And I'm going to pat myself on the back and say like this podcast that I do with them I put the microphone in front of them and it is student voice. So I think a lot of times when people say, Oh no the youth, the youth it's because they don't actually want to listen to them. Cause it might challenge their perception of the world and how the world was when they were younger 48 years ago. And yeah all of that I should have said 47 years ago to exaggerate. Right. Yeah. But I'm, so I felt the same feelings of elation when you launched this podcast. And I was like look at you. So yeah. Tickle fight.
You cultivated this passion that I have with podcasting. Which is an enormous part of my life right now because while you know we started doing the Count Rockula. And it was like, you know we thought we were big shots cause we were recording in a friend's studio. And we were. But we had no plan and there was no like kind of system in place and all that. And you know I remember coming home, or checking the mail one day it was right around my birthday and you sent me easily top 10 best gift or most thoughtful gift that I've ever received. Easily in the top 10. And it was a microphone, not the one that I'm using now. But I mean I used that microphone for for three years. And without it I don't think I would have, the idea of a podcast, our podcast right, wouldn't have really probably happened. But then also it that without that Samsung go mic that you sent me which was such a thoughtful gift, The Monarch Experience podcast would have never have happened. Not that I recorded using it but it was just something that kind of just started working subconsciously. So thanks.
Bagel: [00:20:07] You gave us a nice little intro. We're kind of hearing about what you do what you're working on that you're passionate about. And I love that you mentioned the creative projects. Tell us a little bit about your values. I've known you for a long time. There are probably still lots of things I can learn by hearing you actually identify or communicate outwardly like what your values are and like what you actually care about the most in your life. So, and knowing that these things may change, what are some of the things that you hold true to yourself right now.
Ancona: [00:20:36] Okay So I've listened to your almost all of your episodes of the podcast, and yeah most of them. And I definitely, this part is the part that I think I have my heart is beating actually right now. I mean, my heart's always been beating this whole episode, but my heart is beating faster.
Bagel: [00:20:52] It's like I hope you have some pulse there.
Ancona: [00:20:54] Because, especially when I hear people who, that were you know that we're friends with or that I've been friends with at some point in my life, kind of talk about their values. And I'm like yeah, yeah. That's a value of mine too. That's why I like this person. That's a value of mine also. That's why I like this person. And then I find myself like 18 values later, I'm like I have all those values too. We're the same person then, we're no different. Or people that I've never met that you've interviewed, and I'm like yeah I value those things too. I don't think there's been any value where it's like I value dishonesty. I value murder.
Bagel: [00:21:27] There's a whole subset of podcast for that.
Ancona: [00:21:30] I'm sure. Yeah. So I, you know I started really kind of like. I thought, well I value a lot of stuff but what considering why you're having me on this episode. Like what do your listeners want to know that I value. And I think it's really two big things, I think. I think it's really just feedback. I can't do math actually , I teach English, by the way. Feedback. And I think that ties into your perception of me being a straight shooter or however you worded it. And I think it's because I value feedback giving and receiving feedback. Because for me really really important for me to always be able to receive feedback, and in my in my career I receive feedback constantly. So I get you know, 180 days that I'm working with kids. And I get feedback from my boss two or three times a year on what they saw. But I get feedback like two or three times a minute based off of what I'm saying, what the kids are doing, what they're doing collectively, what I'm trying to roll out as something that might be fun and engaging. And it could be as simple as, we're not talking about this year because this year obviously there's no feedback It's just black screens. With a name written across it but you know in any of the other 10 years that I've been teaching. It's feedback and the you know the eyebrows go up or the mouth when something really clicks, it always enters through the mouth apparently because you always have Oh okay. Or it'll be kind of like the eyebrow up. Cause they're just like, dude you think you're making sense but it's not making sense. And then I've become more adept at being able to pivot and go from there and change course if needed. So for me feedback is always been important because I give and receive it constantly with what I do at work. So I wonder if I went into that line of work because I value feedback or if it was the other way around. But I think for me feedback is one of the most important things a person can be open to giving an open to receive.
Because I thrive on it. Like I need feedback. I we joked at the top of this episode where I said I was needy but like I need feedback. I need to know if what I did is good so I can continue doing it. I'm a confident person but I need to hear sometimes, I need an attaboy. I'm definitely someone who likes an attaboy, but I also just want to know like is that working? Is that analogy that I just made, if I'm at work, is that making this more meaningful? Is this making sense. If I'm explaining something to somebody, I want to be able to read their nonverbal cues. You know a nod, a head nod. Or like that, you know, the text that's like, "Hey, really appreciate this." Like to me feedback is so important because I think one of my biggest strengths is communication. So I mean, I think those go hand in hand. And I think when you're giving feedback, I think you have to be honest. I've learned over the years to be gentler with the honesty. Nobody receives feedback well when you're just trying to be rough around the edges and I'm going to tell it like it is. So I've definitely learned that over the last few years and it's been very helpful. Because it helped me be a better communicator then. So feedback, feedback there's I just. And for me also like, I just want to know, like I wanna know was it good? Can it be better? How can we make it better? I'm a big boy I can handle negative feedback. And I just think that yeah.
Bagel: [00:24:59] How important is feedback for you? Do you need an attaboy often? Think about how you learn and grow in your job or in any role you take on in your life? Were there times where you took feedback more easily than others? What about giving it?
Yeah. That's that's awesome. So it sounds like it's integral to allowing you to continue to grow in your role as a teacher but also as a person. Right. I mean it sounds like this isn't just about your professional career. It's something that you've probably valued most of your life but maybe has been brought to light recently in in the role that you have.
Ancona: [00:25:44] Yeah. Oh yeah. I mean feedback, I mean look look back to our band days where I would Knight you. You want to explain to your audience what I would do to you? Or I was in such desperate need of feedback.
Bagel: [00:25:59] Yeah it's funny that you bring that up because I didn't think about that. But knighting was just the word that we used for for when you would relentlessly , maybe ask is a nice way of putting it, for feedback. That's right. You were asking for feedback. You wanted to know how a practice went, how songs sounded, what you know what we were thinking about how we were going to approach the set list of the next show. Seemed like because you wanted to put your best foot forward and then collectively you wanted us to put our best foot forward together as a group. It's kind of, it's kind of my sense but we called it at knighting and cause you did it at night. That's it.
Ancona: [00:26:38] And the feedback then, and then the feedback that I crave now, they're different but they they're the same exact thing. Like I just want to know what worked. So I keep doing it and what's not working so that I could make myself better. But I mean that is the the anxiety riddled mind that I, that I have where like I know that for others constant feedback is not something that they can handle and it's not a bad thing. It's just they you can't constantly be reflecting for some people. That's just like an implosion. So my wife balances me out with that. She's very receptive to feedback, lauren if you're listening. But like, but her and I both value communication equally. And you know for us to be able to communicate about what's working with raising our kids or you know like what's working with a meal. We cooked, I mean like, we're not robots where we're talking like, "okay let's fill out a rubric. I think today you did this job as a mother." Like it's not like that, but we're just we're talking about things. We're we're both willing to communicate about the process the process of parenthood. The process of being two young people in love, we're, you communicating about all of these things. Our needs, our wants, I'm not getting enough me time or you're getting too much me time. That's a part of that's feedback. That's, you're finding out that like, "Oh do you know what, maybe I am kind of taking a little bit too much time for myself doing all these podcasts with Bagel. Yikes." Have we actually, kind of like try to put a little on my shoulders around the house. That's feedback. And I value that. So to me it's you, you see it everywhere. I'm just someone who kind of is always looking for it.
Bagel: [00:28:17] Yeah. And I think those are really good examples. And I love the specific examples to kind of understand and illustrate why and how that's important to you and how it plays out in your life. I'm curious it sounds like communication certainly goes hand in hand with this for you but talk a little bit about the the giving the feedback piece. Cause you talked about receiving it and why that's important. You talked a little bit about it and kind of at home with a partner and like how the exchange goes. But you you mentioned that you've had some growth over the years of of giving that feedback. And how have you become more effective I guess in your eyes at giving that feedback. Because that is actually a very overlooked and can can be really difficult for some people. Some people it comes naturally at other people it may come off as criticism or there may or they may not be comfortable giving it. So talk about the growth you've had there
Ancona: [00:29:07] So I've learned that giving feedback is not a one-way street to completely go down the trite cliches, that it's a two way street. That I don't think I don't think that feedback I've learned that feedback is not a grenade that you throw and like duck for cover and like let them deal with the explosion that's happened. And you're just like whatever dude like I'm outta here which I think is kind of how my approach to feedback was in my younger years. I see I see how do you see that sounds like I'm
Bagel: [00:29:42] In my younger years.
Ancona: [00:29:44] Right now but no I think you know I wasn't concerned about how the feedback was received because it was in my eyes the truth. So you're finding out the truth and it's your problem If you can't handle it. And that's like the most obnoxious immature you know mentality that I think we can take because everybody handles feedback differently. Not everyone is always open to feedback at all times. Like 9.5 times at a 10 I'm open to feedback I want to hear it. Most people are probably not going to just always be like yeah I'm always you don't even have to ask me if I'm ready to hear it. Like I'm just hit me with it and I've I've learned that and that just because that works for me doesn't work for everybody and that our people handle feedback and hearing feedback in different ways. And you kind of have to coach them differently. Just as like a coach would, you have to be able to know what their strengths are. Know what their personality traits are, how they typically receive feedback. And if there's someone who like who can handle a lot of things all at once, give them a lot of things at once. If there's someone who really can only handle one thing, if you're looking to actually make a change or make growth, just focus on that one thing. Prioritize, what is the thing that you really want to try to work on or try to communicate about so that you and that person can can grow and and focus on that and just keep it to there.
Bagel: [00:31:05] Yeah it sounds like you're intertwining a little bit of trust and relationship building in with giving and receiving feedback. It sounds like there's a there's a piece of that that sounds like there's some individualization.
Ancona: [00:31:19] But it has to be individualized because you're talking to an individual.
Bagel: [00:31:23] Right.
Ancona: [00:31:24] That's where there's been the most growth for me.
Bagel: [00:31:25] It's funny that you word it that way. There has to be right in your mind and for you. That's yeah. That's something that you've learned that that's helpful. And there's probably an underlying value there too. Right. But not everyone thinks that way. They're just maybe some people I think naturally don't approach giving feedback by first thinking about the individual that they're giving it to.
Ancona: [00:31:51] I didn't. I mean I definitely didn't. I used to be about almost like I'm going to tell you my thoughts. As opposed to I'm going to just I'm going to have a conversation with you. We're going to have a conversation together about whatever it is. And it doesn't have to be serious It could be about anything.
Bagel: [00:32:15] So let jump to the actual topic that we talked about, that we're bringing you on here to talk about today. Which is just starting and continuing to show up. And I know that those are sort of two conjoined ideas but we can separate them at least to start. Cause I actually do want to talk about them as separate ideas first. And then if you feel like they are kind of in your life meshed together that's fine. We can kind of talk through those examples.
But let's first talk about just starting and why is that important. You and I have talked about this endlessly with you giving me feedback about things that I have talked about doing in my own life that I just didn't start to, didn't put out there, I didn't publish. And I've started to get over that this podcast being an example. There've probably been things in your life that you've talked about starting and maybe didn't do. But I imagine there's a lot of stuff that you have to like set out a goal to do or accomplish and then you started it. So just giving some context tell us a little bit about why just starting something is important.
Ancona: [00:33:18] Because you'll get feedback on it. Thank you, Goodnight
Bagel: [00:33:21] .For that reason alone.
Ancona: [00:33:22] Yeah, you get feedback. Just start something and you will get feedback and it doesn't have to be perfect, because it's not going to be perfect. Because if it's something you enjoy doing, you're going to get better at it. And then as you continue to get better at it, you'll be gaining feedback. Whether it's you soliciting feedback or whether you just reflecting on the process and things that you've seen or gone through or grown. You're getting feedback as long as you're willing to look at it as feedback.
But you know to me just starting it is, you know I, I got you a shirt years ago It was "Do Things." How prophetic. Just do things. Like just to me and I know this is going to sound like a gross oversimplification, so I'm going to try to avoid that. But if you if you put something out let's say a podcast and you start this podcast and you start it in the, when the this podcast get launched.
Bagel: [00:34:17] May.
Ancona: [00:34:18] And you do it let's say in I dunno some months like May. So you do it and you put it out there. And now you've planned right. You've planned and you've organized and you've tinkered and tinkered and tinkered for the sake of tinkering for weeks months maybe even. And then now you've got it out and at that moment it represents your best ability. It reflects probably your version of perfection. But I mean dude you, this is what episode 16. If you listen to the first episode that you had, do you think that that would be a reflection of where you are now as a podcaster?
Bagel: [00:34:51] It's funny you say that I actually went back and listened to the first episode and I thought it was pretty damn good.
Ancona: [00:34:57] It is.
I was actually thinking that for, at least for me. So that was a fail right there. But I think at least for me, like I think with the things that I've done. Where it's like is that I mean, yes I hope that there's a source of pride. And like yeah you know what I am really happy with with doing this. Cause if you weren't you would never do things again. You'd be like that was a mistake. Look at that. That's terrible , but I
Bagel: [00:35:20] I will, I'm sorry to cut you off but because you asked me a question. I don't want to like lead our audience astray. Cause I I do know where you are going with that. And you and you are right. It happened I think it almost was almost an exception that for the first episode of this podcast I felt good about it. Because I brought on a guest who I felt really confident in having a conversation with. And it almost was just like I don't really need to do much. Now I still was nervous as hell. And there was so much that went into that like just doing that first one. And it was it was scary. But it was almost two and three that actually felt really tough. And there absolutely were points at the beginning where I was like I don't know what I'm doing It feels overwhelming. And there's like all this nervousness. And there was a lot of resistance to even doing those first couple of ones.
Ancona: [00:36:11] Maybe it's the first one that you look back on and you're like this is really good and I'm proud of it. And you should I think that's a big part of doing things right. And like just getting them done and just putting them out there. But it's gotten easier to get to that level. So I think that is growth then. Right. So I think the idea of just putting something out, you know you're going to plan. I'm not saying put out subpar work, but if you're going to put something out that represents you and your best at that moment in time May for example with your podcast. It is now November when we're recording this. You've grown as a podcaster, as a communicator, as an organizer, as a producer, as a planner, as an editor, as a podcast host. You're maybe not as nervous anymore. You're maybe not like it doesn't feel like it's all moving so fast that you can't like process everything. And like get things done I think that like it's never perfect. And I think that your best is going to continually grow. So I don't have an issue for me with planning organizing and then putting something out, because I know that then I'll look back on it and I'll say at that moment that was my best and I'm proud of it. And now it doesn't represent my best cause I've gotten better because I've been receptive to feedback and I've grown and reflected on it. And now this is my current best. And then it's six months from then that will hopefully be my new best.
So I'm never worried that you know I know that there's people out there who and I my brain doesn't work like this so I have a hard time understanding it but There are a lot of people who when they put stuff out, they have to plan and organize and tinker and tinker and tinker and like over perfect it and make sure that like when it comes out it's the right day, the right month, it has to be, all the stars have to align so perfectly. But I think that just gives you an opportunity to say no it's not the right time. I'm not going to do it yet. And there's just more opportunity to talk yourself out of it. It's like, it's like every smoker that's ever tried to quit always says they're going to do it like after the holidays. And then after the holidays, like something tragic happens, or something, that got really dark. Or something stressful happens. Jeez, but something really stressful happens and they're like I'm going to start on Monday. I'm gonna start dieting on Monday. And then Monday comes and Monday is always rough. Ah I don't, I don't know. You know I just need a cigarette. I mean it's 2020, do people still smoke? Stop it, people. Like or you know what? I just, I need to feel, I just need to feel good. I need like that Dopamine dump right now. Like let me go get a McDonald's cheeseburger. Oh I feel really good. Okay, tomorrow I'm going to start the diet. Then tomorrow I'm going to do this but then tomorrow is going to have its other obstacles that are going to come up. And then there's never that perfect time. And then you're just making, then people just end up making excuses all the times for why they don't just go and get something done. For me, I think it's always easier to just do it. Obviously we're talking about planning. Plan, do it, and then now you're in it. So now you can start adjusting, and learning, and growing, and getting feedback, and reflecting on it. And you can make it better as you go. Whether that's a week from now, six months from now, or a year from now, I think the idea of like if it's got to come out when it's perfect, it's, you're fooling yourself.
Bagel: [00:39:26] I like how Ancona gives us examples of starting new things that may have a positive impact, but also stopping things that may be negatively impacting you too. The same message applies. What are we really waiting for? Of course, physiological urges and addictions aside, what have you put off changing in your life that may be hurting you? Can you point to why?
Yeah. And it's you know a couple things about what you just said that that stood out to me. It's This perfectionism really is a defense mechanism more than anything is I think something that I've learned. So the person you were describing when you said I'm not like this, is me .And you know this, I know you weren't intentionally saying it because it's me. But I but that is me. It's, it's like the yes but I need to do it this way. I need to make sure I have enough episodes to post weekly. I, it's like all of these like, you know, criteria that you feel like you've got to meet perfectly to do something. And maybe it's not perfectly but it's like near perfect. Right.
Ancona: [00:40:29] Self imposed criteria.
Bagel: [00:40:30] Right. It is. And it's like, I could do all this research and know what all the best practices are. And I feel like if I'm not measuring up to that, it's not going to be worthy. Right. Or it's not good or I might not be happy with it. Right. It's kind of the combination of those things.
Ancona: [00:40:46] I'm going to resist that though for a second. Because you're measuring yourself up against best practices. And how are best practices decided? Through trial and error, and feedback, and doing the thing. And then these people reflected on their growth and their progress, and their process, and then wrote an article called best practices. And then you and someone who's never done it for example like you were using yourself. You're measuring yourself, someone who's never done it, against someone who is an expert at it.
Bagel: [00:41:19] Right.
Ancona: [00:41:19] How are you ever going to be successful? How are you ever going to be happy with like getting something done like that?
Bagel: [00:41:24] And not only is it that experience that builds up over time and then you call it best practices. But it's it's often a collection of, many like, a huge sample size of people's best practices. It's not one person who figured out how to do something more efficient cause their way may still be like ridiculous and drawn out or whatever. But it's like, yeah, it's the collective like the industry's best practices of how we we all agree that these are the best ways to approach something.
Ancona: [00:41:52] And as a teacher, best practices those types of, and I'm sure there's many other people in various occupations where whether they hear theory or they hear best practices and they just kind of like roll their eyes. And they're like, yeah but realistically that's not feasible.
Bagel: [00:42:08] I've mentioned to you I'm part of an online entrepreneur community. And one of the things that has come up a lot is this quote and I'm not going to get it perfect. But it's essentially like, don't compare your start to someone else's end. And I think that captures kind of what you were just sharing there. It's like it makes no sense if you think about it in any profession. Let's go with baseball since that's something we agree on. You look at someone who's like just drafted out of school and they're in single A. How could you possibly think that that person, they may have the talent that someone has that is in the league now. But like think about all of the experience that that person is lacking to be able to compete in the big leagues like to be able to compete. And hold their own and let alone have confidence in stepping up to the plate literally and figuratively in the big leagues. You know I'm the King of cliches. You knew this was going to come out at some point but like you got to start where you start. And I love the message that you're sending, which is like start, do it, get the feedback. Right.
Ancona: [00:43:14] I mean go with the baseball analogy, that minor league player is has planned and prepared. Okay. Like I don't want anyone to misunderstand if you like you're saying just like go out, just do it. And don't even plan like that's unrealistic and stop it. I was saying like, if you're you're a minor league baseball player with that anaolgy, you've planned and prepared. You know, you may have your perfect day where you get your first start. And it's going to be on this type of day. It's going to be a perfect baseball day and it's going to be to start the game. Nope. It's the third inning kid you're in. And it's like what what do you mean I'm in it mid bat? But just, start. Like, no one's expecting it to be, I hope no one's expecting for it to be perfect. But you you're going to learn and grow from that. And you're just expediting that process by starting. You're not learning, I don't feel, for me, again this is how I operate. I don't feel like I learn the best when I am planning and organizing. I learn the best when I'm doing.
Bagel: [00:44:06] Yeah so that was actually going to be my next question, I think it relates to that is Do you feel any resistance when you do want to start something? How, what do you have any, I don't want to say like tips and tricks, cause that sounds really cheesy and it's not really what I'm trying to say. But like what are the things that you do to start? Like do you literally just tell yourself like I'm going to do this and that and you do it? Is there any resistance? Like how do you actually get started on something that especially if it seems like a long haul something that's like a bigger project or a bigger task in your in your life?
Ancona: [00:44:41] Okay, so I'll make a bold statement and then I'll give an example. I'm not afraid of failure, I'm okay with it. I fail at a lot of things. Again, I'm a teacher. I fail so often. Like I I fail in front of an audience three times a day, four times a day, five times a day, multiple times within that one class. But I'm gaining feedback. Those failures can be minuscule but I'm failing with the way I'm phrasing something. That's going to happen a million times in this podcast. Thank God you're going to edit it out
Pivot and adjust. Right. And kind of like, you know, learn on the fly. And I do think that I am equipped with that skillset where I am good at that I am good on my toes. I am confident. And I think those two things combined, you know, like you fake it till you make it, right. Like I'm good at that. But I think like to give you, so I'm not afraid of failure. I know that that's a real thing for a lot of people where they are afraid to fail for whatever reason. They don't want to disappoint family members, they don't want to disappoint friends, they don't want to disappoint partners that maybe they're involved with but I don't think that failure as a disappointment is, I'm not going to say as a learning opportunity . I just think failure doesn't have to be this catastrophic end to something. It just simply could be like, all right it didn't work. Like it just didn't work today. You know if you fail at making that meal, you don't decide that you're never gonna cook or eat again. You just like look at it as like well Tuesday kind of sucked. So hopefully breakfast on Wednesday comes out a little bit better. And then
Bagel: [00:46:16] Or you still eat it cause it's still edible.
Ancona: [00:46:18] Yeah
Bagel: [00:46:19] Life goes on.
Ancona: [00:46:19] You still eat it. I like, I don't know where you're going with that analogy but I like it. I like it. No, I like it. You fail just eat it. And then the tangible example that I'll give is the Monarch Experience podcast. So I don't know if this is like a good time to kind of delve into all of that but I kind of see that as like of recent successes. Or of recent examples. That's like the best example I can think of about gaining or getting and giving feedback, giving in the sense of almost like reflection. But also just like just doing it and not being afraid to fail and kind of like what the thought process was with that. Half the time when I post episodes I'm like all right I'm or trying something new It's like all right I'm going to try this on like Tuesday. And then like Saturday comes around and I'm just like Let's just do it right now. Like here I'm going to post it right now because Tuesday's no more perfect than Saturday. That doesn't matter and I know that's easy once you kind of have your footing especially when we're talking about the podcast it's just like post it whatever. But with starting the podcast, there there was definitely, you were asking like what gets in the way. Are there any things that get in the way. I mean myself, my own insecurities for sure. You know, I'm going to be trying something really, really bold for the whole school and for the district. Not thinking it was going to blow up as big or as wide as it has. But like the idea that I'm going to, I'm going to, what gives me the credential to be a podcast host and what gives me the credential to then talk to kids, with the kids, like in this kind of platform. Like who do I think I am? What am I, like Mr Harvey from Boy Meets World. Like sitting on a desk with like tight jeans and cowboy boots and a mullet. Oh my God, if only.
Bagel: [00:48:02] Big dream for you.
Ancona: [00:48:03] It is the dream. All of those things. I've got one of them covered. I've got two of them covered. I just don't have a mullet.
So the idea actually, and I've talked to people like I did like a couple of like I guess like podcasts interviews like with about the Monarch Experience. And it's like so how'd you come up with the idea? I'm like, man my cool things never have any like great story. Like I was fishing. It was a recreation of old man in the sea.
Bagel: [00:48:28] Have you ever been fishing?
Ancona: [00:48:29] Like twice.
Bagel: [00:48:30] Okay That's more than me.
Ancona: [00:48:32] I love the idea of fishing more than I actually love fishing. Every time I go to like you know a fish store I always like tell my friend who's who actually fishes, like legitimately. And I'd be like dude, I caught a sword fish this weekend. And he's like wait, what? I'm like Yeah, man. He caught a swordfish. The guy threw it to me from behind the counter, I caught it. And then I went and I paid for it. It was amazing.
But so the idea came to me, there's no way great story. It's just like I was I had a really amazing year. My favorite group of kids ever. And I, the long story short is basically I just was reading some article and I just felt inspired. And I felt it like coursing through my veins. Like I felt like the ultimate one warrior, like we're going to take this jet and bring it straight to the ground, Hogan. And I just I didn't know. And I remember thinking like I am onto something really cool. And I don't know what it is. And I remember emailing my vice principal who kind of sent me the article or whatever It was just like Oh this person reminds me of you. And it was a compliment And I was just like Hey I just want to let you know like I have a really great idea I don't know what it is yet though but I have some kind of idea that's happening right now. And I'm going to share with you and like the idea eventually we just kind of like literally poof, I think it was on the toilet. And then I got off the toilet and was just poof I should do a podcast with the kids. And I think you need someone you can have as a sounding board for that. And a friend of mine -- I ran down to his room and I was just like here's an idea I have. And it was just you ready to can can I tell you anything. Yeah sure. And I was just like blah blah blah blah blah blah blah And he was a really great sounding board for it. And I planned and organized. And I remember the conversation with admin was, yeah this sounds like a really cool thing. This was in like January this sounds like a really cool thing to do. You know for like the end of the year we could get this rolling and like have it out for like you know May and June. I was like May and June? I can't sit on an idea like that too long because then I just don't want to do it. It loses, there's no, much, there's no, I don't enjoy the planning part. I enjoy the doing part. I love the performing. I love like the actually making things happen.
So I remember looking at them and saying May? I want to get this thing out by March. And I think February 6th was our first episode that came out. And we've had 30 episodes so far. And it's like, the resistance for me was when I had it, and edited it, and did all of that. And then I sent it, I posted it, and I sent it to the staff. And I remember walking out of the building thinking, "Oh my God what have I done." Just because I felt like Oh my God people are gonna like start catcalling me. And be like "Hey podcaster." And like, that it was just going to be in like this like mocking way with no positive feedback. And I was just gonna be like, "Oh God, like I put myself out there." And you're putting yourself out there, and that's usually what I'm afraid of more than anything is like putting myself out there. And like not getting any feedback that's like authentic. Somebody making somebody you know busting your chops is fine. Like that's that's great. That's what friends do right. Or people who aren't your friends or both. But I also want them like, can you give me some real feedback to go along with that. Like make fun of me but then also like can you give me something either positive or negative. I can handle either but I just want to know like that one of them is not like a joke. So that was the feeling of Oh my God I hit send and now I can't take it back.
Bagel: [00:52:11] And so I want to sit with that for just a minute because I think that's such an excellent example of taking a risk. .Right That's, even for someone who've who values starting things quickly without putting you know putting things on hold and doing a whole bunch of planning, although I'm sure you did some. But it's like doing the,
Ancona: [00:52:24] I did a lot.
Bagel: [00:52:32] I'm sure. And I know I know you did behind the scenes. And to get
Ancona: [00:52:38] I hit a, I hit a a wall with my capacity to plan and organize probably quicker than other people. Where I'll organize it for a couple of days if that, maybe a week or so depending on what it is. And then I get to a point where I kind of just know. How much different of a product am I going to put out if I plan for another two weeks at this point compared to if I just say let's get it up now? If the percentage has brought me to be a 1% difference.
Bagel: [00:53:06] And that takes some maturity, right, some experience I think to to know for yourself where that point of diminishing returns is. And like you probably know based on things you've done in the past that like, there's a certain level. And it may not be measurable by how much time you've put in but there's a certain level where you kind of know you've hit that creative peak. Where it's like yeah. Anything else from here, it's like all right maybe I'll add like like you said 1% in it but it's probably not worth it. And then I imagine there was just some anxiousness and actually just putting something out there. Because this is like this is like something you've birthed. Right. It's like it's like an actual, you know an idea that started back somewhere back in the, in your brain that like came to life and you were excited to put it out there. And I just want to accentuate this idea that like you had to sit with that feeling. And I am curious to know how long but I'm going to ask you that in a second. But that you sat with this feeling of like you said, you hit send on that email, you sent it out. And you were like all right like what's going to happen. And just human nature, right, there's there's a little bit of questioning going on. You didn't say the word so correct me if I'm wrong but it sounded like there's just like a little bit of doubt. Like you just like don't really know exactly how it's going to be received or at least some questioning right. Like like you're just unsure and vulnerable. You're vulnerable. You're you're putting a product out there. That's like you has your name on it that is that is associated with you. And you know you're going to get the little, you know, cheap shots or whatever you call them, like your friends banter and that sort of thing. But was there any fear at that point? You mentioned that you wanted the feedback, but was there any fear at that point of anything?
Ancona: [00:54:46] So I mean, I remember walking out of the building, I could, I hit send and was leaving and I still remember like exactly where I was when the thought was like I cannot walk out of this building fast enough right now before anybody sees me. But the fear, but also it was I sat with it as I was walking out. And then I went and I did other stuff. Like I got in my car I went home probably worked out like I, that was it. And it was okay well it's done. Like I put it out. I chose to put this out. So now the fear is just of course like, Oh I hope people accept it and all of that but what am I like at that point it was just like what else, what am I going to do. Like I there's nothing else I can do right now, aside from just, just wait. And then I think I checked my email and a lot of those feelings went away when I had just like so many positive things people were saying about the idea, the execution of it, and and that was overwhelming in a positive and surprising way. I didn't think it would be like so well received in that sense from just like staff support before even the students showed interest. So I mean that that helped kind of alleviate it. But of course you're nervous. Right. You put something like you said you birthed it. You put all that work into it. You're just like I don't want somebody just like making fun of me.
Bagel: [00:56:01] Yeah it's your baby at that point. And that was, I wanted to know what the response was. So you kind of mentioned so you've got ,you got like pretty soon after that some feedback. You said from other staff and the administration and things like that.
Ancona: [00:56:13] Oh yeah. Yeah. And and I mean, and that made me feel good about. I mean like I knew that what we did was good. I left feeling like I had nothing to compare it to. And there's episodes where I've left and I felt like woof a good thing I've got like 10 or 15 under my belt right now.
I still remember one piece of affirmation I got that was from a student who I didn't have. And just emailed me and was like I just, it was like complete like I just listened to the episode. Oh my God. It's like everything that I've ever felt. We did the episode on standardized tests. And it was like everything I've ever felt that, every stress I've ever felt like I think she even used the phrase like you validated all of my feelings that I've ever had.
And I was like wow. This is like this is like a voice or a platform for not just those kids to voice what they feel, but also for other students their voices to be heard in a way through those kids that are on each episode. But yeah to me it's just you know starting at anything is better than not starting. What's the alternative? What is the alternative? Not doing it? I'm going to wait until the perfect day to start this new workout regimen and then there's new diet. But I got to wait for the perfect day to start it. So you mean you're not going to do it.
Bagel: [00:57:28] The last thing on just starting it's like, you've kind of addressed the fact that you're not afraid of failure right. You say like that and I think that that piece is probably the piece that holds a lot of people back from starting things. Where things seem insurmountable because they're like they see this huge mountain in front of them, figuratively speaking. Are there other situations with other people where you've been able to encourage others to just start? And is there, have there been ways that you've been effective?
Ancona: [00:57:57] I think one of the Ancona-isms that I have on my wall, I think like a student of mine in the past, in the future created like a top 10 in Kona sayings. And one of them is just throw crap at the wall and see what sticks. And it probably had to do with like we're creating probably like introductions. So trying to come up with like a creative hook or like the conclusion you're coming up with some kind of bigger picture. Like if we're doing you know so what's with conclusions like it's I don't have a box of so what's. It's gonna, we're gonna unearth it by having a conversation and we're going to try to figure it out based on your individual writing, and where you are with word choice, or the idea that you're going with, or what's on your mind like subconsciously. Maybe that we can tap into there. But I think just encouraging like I know that I encourage my students all the time. Tell them like no there's, when we're conferencing like there's no bad ideas. So I hate the idea of like ah no no it's a it's a bad idea. And I'm like no, no, no, say it, say it, again say it out loud. One you'll either dispel it, the bad idea and you'll be, you'll have less bad ideas now inside of you. Or say the bad idea because I'm a sounding board for it. Maybe I can just tweak one part of it and then you can then make it masterful somehow. Depending on just where this conversation goes because I don't know where the conversation is going. Gonna go until you say something. So for me that's always been you know and I never realized that that was like a saying I had. But I'm always like I'm a big proponent of just throw crap at the wall and see what sticks. That's that's my entire creative process. You only need one to stick. Nobody sees all the bad ideas.
Bagel: [00:59:36] Right, right. So I value the brain dump and the brainstorming now more than ever. Years ago I took a class on conflict resolution. And I remember just learning about how the strategy of brainstorming, not just just on your own but with a collaborative partner even if you were negotiating with each other. To have, to be on the literally the same side of the table or figuratively and like brainstorm together and how you should kind of have no no boundaries and no no holds barred is what I want to say. No walls up and just let the let the mind go. And now that's been reinforced and a lot of stuff I've been doing as an entrepreneur. It's like different parts of the brain operate, and I'm sure you probably talk about this as an English teacher, but it's like there's different parts of the brain operating there. It's like you got to get everything out first, then organize it. Those are two completely different sides of the brain. And if you start to try to wrangle in the brainstorming side before you allow it to like prosper, you're really just not like you're doing yourself a disservice. You're not allowing those potential good ideas to come because you're like already snipping the bad ideas and you're not letting anything else come out.
Ancona: [01:00:46] Oh when my eighth graders are trying to refine and organize at the same time, it is like the worst thing to like uncoach is that. You're like no, no, no, no I'm going to make it perfect and create at the same time. I'm like there's no such thing. You're not making it perfect. And creating at the same time, those two things don't exist. You have to one first. And then the other one, usually in a specific order. I'm always making the analogy about like you're putting up sheet rock. It's going to get messy. Like let it get messy. You're just building walls. You'll pick out what like vase you want in the corner and what like end table you want later. But you're not going to also try to sweep as you're doing demo. That's counterproductive. Doesn't make sense. You're wasting time.
Bagel: [01:01:31] What does your creative process look like? Do you allow enough time and space for brainstorming before you get to organizing and planning? Even if you don't engage in traditional creative art forms, you likely exercise the muscle in some way in your life. Consider where you draw your energy from when starting a new project and budget time accordingly.
Let's keep this on the path that we've been working towards. And so obviously starting is important. Right. And I think you've done an excellent job of disarming the fears of like why like, what is what is stopping you from actually just starting something. There's really nothing to be to be scared of or to like fear because you know that you can make a decision at any point right. You can you can decide to keep going You could decide not to keep going at that point So I kind of want to use that as like the segue into talking about showing up.
Bagel: [01:02:28] I'm trying to define this as an umbrella term as best I can. Cause I do think it's both physically showing up to something, that is part of it. Like you told a friend you were going to meet them at this time, at this date, at this location, and you don't show up like that's part of this conversation. Absolutely. Right. And also like long-term commitments and being and what you just referred to as consistency. So if you say you're going to do something, like not just showing up the first time, but showing up the second time, the third time, the fourth time. Until or unless you make a decision consciously and communicate that decision to not show up to that thing. And I think we're going to talk about that but that's kind of what I'm referring to. Does that make sense? And does that align with kind of how you think of both figuratively and literally in some sense of showing up to things?
Ancona: [01:03:24] Yeah. So all right. So I'll focus on the part of like consistently building off of the one hit or the one thing you've done. Right. I think one I think other values that I have that maybe now were important to address are commitment. And for me one of the biggest compliments I guess that I've I've had the sent my way is that I'm a loyal friend. And to me that is like, Ooh that's heavy because those things are important to me. I am loyal and I think of my friendships as having a sense of loyalty. I think John Gray on a previous episode kind of was icky about that word. And I totally understand that there's there's got this like kind of like I don't know. Ickiness about the word like I have being loyal to me, serve me. But for me it's more of like I want to be seen as a loyal. So if other people were loyal to me, cool whatever like that this sounds like the beginning of like a rap song. But like for me I want to be loyal to my friends because what that means is that I'm committed to that relationship. So I guess those two things kind of like intertwine. We're not going to talk about saying you're going to show up somewhere physically and then not doing that. That is like scum of the earth. Like why would you say you're going to go somewhere and then not go there. That's ridiculous.
Bagel: [01:04:47] I mean, I don't mean, like completely don't even you know notify the person. I just mean I even mean just like and you know what and maybe it does come back to consistency.
Ancona: [01:04:57] I’m going to show up at lunch and they're just like ha no I'm not. He goes, are you friends with. Who are in your top seven that are before me that this is something that you're trying to get my opinion on.
Bagel: [01:05:10] And I'm saying this because I actually this is this was me in some instances growing up. Where I said I was going to do something and then honest truth is maybe I wasn't feeling well and I didn't show up to that thing. But if you start to do that a lot right. Like if you're consistently not showing up to things so almost the inverse it's like you're consistent about not following through and not showing up to things that you say you're going to do. To the point where it becomes a pattern and probably a problem to the people that are relying on you in some sense.
Ancona: [01:05:43] Okay, well so I think that's a big part of it. People were relying on you don't let them down
Don't don't let yourself down There are extenuating circumstances obviously. So that's of course, that's the case but I think you said I'm a straight shooter. Pew Pew. I think
Bagel: [01:06:01] I believe I said you tell it like it is.
Ancona: [01:06:03] So I think for me like I am. I don't know. I just I've always felt like if you're going to say you're going to do something, just do it. Like don't overcomplicate things. But I also think for some people it's easy to do it the first time. Right. So like you know without going back to the podcast example where you you created this cool thing. Or you were you were making this new project or you're proposing this new idea somewhere and you were kind of putting it in motion. And then like and then you did it. But it's a long range thing, you have to then follow through on that. Because otherwise you just wasted your time. And like I don't like wasting my time . So I guess I'll go back to me, I'll go back to like fitness and eating right and working out. It's like it's, so the cliche is day after new year's everyone's in the gym. I don't know this, I've had a garage gym my entire life. Thank God. Thank God.
Bagel: [01:06:57] Say Not you but yes
Ancona: [01:06:59] But like you go to the gym and it's like Monday is busiest day. Everyone's trying to like, you know, dispel whatever toxins are in their body and whatever bad choices they made, they're trying to sweat it out. And then Tuesday it's like dead again. And the first week after new year's it's Booming baby. And then it's dead again. And then same thing in the spring. It's like Oh my God Beach body, I gotta get ready. And then it's dead again. And I think the I'm talking about things I know nothing about cause I've never been to a commercial gym. So I just lost all credit.
Bagel: [01:07:32] It's usually, it's usually, I mean I haven't, having been a gym member a couple of times in my life, not many. I feel like it's usually about like early to mid February when it really starts to die down. There's like a little hope for like the month of January and then it totally dwindles.
Ancona: [01:07:47] But I think it's like so why'd you do it, like what was the long-term goal? And I think that having that goal in mind is so important to stay committed with anything because if you don't have a goal for what you're trying, what you're trying to get out of it. Or what you're trying to give with this thing that you're doing then you're never going to be able to sustain it. Two weeks in, you're going to be like I can't do this. Or you know you're going to have to sacrifice some things somewhere else. Maybe like for me like, I've been focusing just on strength. And it's been nice to kind of like not worry necessarily about like eating perfectly healthy. Because, well, quarantine weight too. So that's kind of conducive with the strength gains that I'm aiming for. So it's also just kind of letting go of like, oh all right I'm going to I'm going to get a little soft around the mid section. And that's a way that's okay because.
Bagel: [01:08:41] Nice way of putting it.
Ancona: [01:08:42] Because it's like, well but my goal is to get stronger that's what I'm aiming for right now. Like during this 10-11 week Program that I've been that I've been on and it's that being my goal has helped me stay with it. When I've caught myself in the mirror I've seen a picture and gone like Oh wow I've never had a little belly like that. Okay. And it and that's that's been a little bit hard honestly, like to to kinda deal with that. Cause like I'm a skinny guy like people who don't know me at all like. I'm not jacked, like I'm athletic, I work out. Working out has been a huge part of my life but like you're not going to mistake me for Ronnie Coleman. But it's been a huge part of my life and my goals have changed through different periods of my life. And I think you have to have a goal in mind in order to stay with it. Because if I didn't, if I didn't allow myself to completely be immersed in I am focusing on strength gain. That's what I want right now. And the second I saw a little bit of flab around my belly, it would have been "Nope Okay We're not doing this. We're changing it back up I'm going to start running a little bit too going to start doing some cardio I'm going to make sure I have a little bit of semblance of abs even in the winter because I can't handle this. My pants are a little bit too tight. Don't like it." But I think with anything you kind of have to like embrace the things that are going to go along with it. Maybe sacrifices you might have to make also and and really stay with them, and commit to them. And I think the commitment is a huge part of being able to keep showing up. Because otherwise so many people easily just "Nope this is not a good time really right now in my life." Well it's never a good time. It's never a good time to kick a bad habit or to start a new good one.
Bagel: [01:10:24] Yeah I that's kind of come up as a theme here a little bit. Is like you know excuses, timing specifically. But I like what you emphasized around commitment and goal setting. I think those are you know there's a lot of like, there's a lot of studies recently specifically around habits, and forming habits. And how that can just if you focus on those little things that can obviously make the big difference in the long run. But I think just like broadly speaking if you don't have that goal in mind, what are you committing to. And if, and without that commitment what are you what are you accomplishing.
Where do you think and I'm not necessarily asking you to speak about this as as an expert. But just you Mike Ancona as someone who's like done goal setting and has like made commitments to himself and the people he cares about in his life. Like where do you start with how to set those goals and how to stay committed to those goals. It makes it sound like it's like immediately you know not going to happen, when I say lofty. But maybe like people set goals. Right. You just talked about an example. Most people at the beginning of the year say they're going to lose weight right after the holidays. That's like a goal that they set. Yet so many the majority fall off of that goal. So what helps you stay committed to the things that you know that are important to you in the longterm and therefore help you stay committed and help you to keep showing up?
Ancona: [01:11:58] Well so there's a quote that Arnold Schwartzenegger had, I think that it's a part of just making it a part of your routine. So like lifting has never been something that I like I gotta go work out or I got to go to the gym. It's just a part of my routine, has been a built-in part of my routine the way that if this is Arnold's quote, basically but it's like I have to eat every day, I have to sleep every day, and I have to like bathe every day, and I have to work out every day. I'm paraphrasing his much more poignant but it's the same idea. Like for me I've been able to stay committed to that goal because it's just a part of it's a part of my routine. Like I shower every day, so I also work out on every schedule day that I'm planning to work out. I don't miss workouts unless there's something going on that obviously is more priority. Like my family. Yeah. Maybe that's it. Well my job I guess. But like so for me it's like it's not an option. It's never like I'm really tired. And don't really want to work out well like you're really tired but you're still going to eat. Right. You're really tired, you're still gonna shower. Right. You're still gonna do all those things. You're really tired. You're still gonna watch TV though. Probably like I can push myself for an hour or half an hour. And I can still get in the gym. It's a part of my routine. It's but that's that's for me that's something that that is something I love, I enjoy, I love the results, I love the challenge, I love the constant feedback that I get from from lifting. And from seeing progress or not seeing progress or learning something new. But I think with anything it's you're setting a goal and that goal should just be something that I don't even want to say that shouldn't be low. Like what do I want to do in my personal life. I want to be a better husband, I want to be a better friend, I want to be a better dad. Okay. So like better is subjective. All right I'm going to just keep making sure that what I'm doing is aligning with that end result.
Bagel: [01:13:47] Yeah I mean, I'm partial but I love that word aligning. I think that's that's super important.
Ancona: [01:13:55] You do like that word.
Bagel: [01:13:57] I do, I do.
I think aligning is really crucial. I think it's like you've got the buckets of things that you do in your life that matter to you. Right. You've got, like you mentioned. Family, your job, you know, podcasts that you that you care about. There's things there's buckets that you kind of commit your time and energy to. And I think the more you're able to align the values that you have in your life with those buckets. And then kind of almost create like a little mini vision for each of those buckets of how your values and those buckets align. I think you're living a fulfilling life, you know and a life of meaning when you're able to align those things. And it sounds like you you do that somewhat naturally in a lot of ways. But I know that there's also probably been a lot of work and dedication and goal setting and commitment and feedback involved in all of those different areas in your life.
Ancona: [01:14:55] I think if I could get feedback I think I'm willing to do anything.
Bagel: [01:14:59] Yeah.
Ancona: [01:15:00] I'm willing to probably give anything a try as long as I'm willing to get feedback on the process. So I can just kind of gauge or assess like where I am with the skill set for that particular thing.
Bagel: [01:15:14] Yeah. And I love that that's kind of brought it full circle which I knew it would considering we did a little bit of prep for this . What I'm hoping is that people hear that and even if people don't value feedback as much as you do, that they value it somewhat because I do think it's it's crucial. I don't often go on a limb to say like this should be your value, but I actually think that feedback should be high up on a lot of people's lists in terms of something that they care about and value in their lives. For a lot of the reasons you mentioned. And and not I don't want to get on a high horse but I'll just get off her like a little bit of commentary on why I think it's so important and I kind of held off on saying this but I do think it's important. I'm really going to go off on a soap box here in a world that is so isolating.
Ancona: [01:15:59] In a world where people need feedback. They open themselves up to hearing from others. What they say enlightens them. Terror, chaos, romance ensues.
Bagel: [01:16:12] See, I didn't even need to do it. You just come on and do it. In some ways, I think the people that we choose to kind of surround ourselves with and we trust. We're able to kind of build relationships with I think it's a little bit easier to give and get that feedback. And that's that's a great thing.
Ancona: [01:16:30] I think you need that first. A think there has to be trust. Trust even if it doesn't have to be love but there has to be trust. Because it has to be, I trust that what you're going to give me is in my best interest. I want my students to trust that what I'm going to give them as feedback is going to help them grow. I want you know my wife, my friends to trust that any feedback that they're going to ask for that is going to be is going to be honest and it but it's also going to be with the intent to help not to cut down.
Bagel: [01:17:04] I agree. I mean I think trust is crucial and I do think it's very important. Because in a world where I feel like the inner circles are becoming tighter. And you kind of, I feel like there's a lot of like building your inner circle network. There's also, you've got like friends that you only catch up with on social media. Or that you maybe will email on occasion or people that you interact with Literally only through Text, email, like not actually talking to let alone actually seeing in person. And it's very, very easy for messages to get misconstrued over that medium. And I think there's something to be said about. And again I know I'm getting on like a soap box here and I haven't been admitting that. But I think there's something to be said about making a little bit of effort to make something personal. And to build that trust, and then to allow for the walls to come down a little bit. So that that crucial feedback is able to be communicated both ways and for those people to grow individually but also as a group or a team or partners. And I think that's that's really, really huge. I know you've been working remotely as a teacher. I've been remote working remotely in my job. Everybody's a lot of people have been kind of like shifting to this remote working world. And I will just say that we have an app to actually talk to each other not via text but through voice messages. And I can't even I can't stress enough how valuable that has been to actually have phone like to my ear to be able to use my voice, my literal voice to tell someone and communicate not just what I'm saying but the emotion behind it. It's it's incredibly important and valuable. And it also allows for me to get feedback from others about what I'm talking about. How I'm thinking of approaching it. And you mentioned something earlier which I think is important which is a sounding board. It's really, really hard to have a sounding board where you're you feel like you're getting real, authentic feedback through an email, through a text. It's not impossible but it's harder. And so finding ways to make sure that you're building that trust and allowing for those conversations to happen where you do feel like that feedback is valuable feedback. It's not just like surface level stuff.
Ancona: [01:19:32] Oh yeah totally.
Bagel: [01:19:34] So now I'm off the soap box. I feel like we're, we're at the point of rounding out the conversation but before we do that. Is there any kind of general feedback or advice or tips that you would give to those out there that are like yeah I always have these goals that I want to do but I never follow through. Or maybe they're a student, maybe they're not even an adult yet. And they're like you know trying to figure out their life. Like what what sort of advice might you have for those people.
Ancona: [01:20:01] There'll be a lot of advice, probably. But I think the one thing regardless of the situation would be, do you have someone that you can kind of spit all ideas to. If you don't and I can't be that person just literally, just write everything down in like a doc or on a piece of paper. Just so you have it and then you could look back on it with fresh eyes. And you'll be amazed by what is a horrible idea. Or what isn't just no chance it was going to work and once it's kind of been put out there you'll see it. And then you can be a little bit more objective about what's reasonable, what's tangible, what's objectively reasonable and then I think it's kind of easier to go from there. But I think you have to first weigh what's the outcome, what's the goal. Then I want to try to get to. How much do I value that goal. Because there's a lot of things that like I want to do, but I just haven't gotten around to doing it well. Really I don't value it all that much. Like I want to organize this office that I'm in. But it really is so low down the totem pole of like things that I value. That it's just probably not going to happen until like a really cold dreary like end of January day. If I'm lucky. You know there's other stuff like I'd love to learn an instrument. I'd love to pick up drums or guitar. Like especially at this stage in my life, that'd be amazing. But how do I re, what is the goal that I have there. I just kind of like tapping. Honestly I just I love tapping and it drives my wife nuts. So like maybe I should start winning how to play drums. All right cool. So now I'm paying attention to like drums when I'm listening to music. Do I really want to play drums? Probably not. So I think you have to kind of evaluate like what's the goal and how much time am I willing to put into it. Do I want to see my strength increase during this 10 week cycle that I'm on? Maybe 12 18 weeks, how whoever knows who knows how long I'm going to stay with this program for. Yes, I do so I'm going to, so I'm going to stay with it and that's something that means something to me and that's important to me. So I think that's the first thing you have to figure out. Like that the misunderstanding of like you know just go out and write that novel that you've always been talking about writing. It's like well, work that goes into that. Do you really want to do that? Or is that just like one of the many things that so many people have as like yeah that'd be fun to do it. I think you have to you have to be willing to embrace the suck and the misery that goes along with anything that is creative or anything that is something you want. Because if you're not willing to put up with like the parts that are really hard then probably don't want that. And then if you're at that stage where like I was with putting out the Monarch Experience podcast, where it's like Oh boy like when's the perfect time? It's ready. It's ready. Should I do it on a Wednesday? Should I do it on a Thursday? Should I wait another month? Maybe I could plan and organize and launch and all of these other buzz words. I think that's where you kind of have to ask yourself what am I what am I afraid of. And is it going to change if I do it now or if I do it in a month or in six weeks. Obviously the answer is going to be no. So that's where it's like okay just embrace it, just do it. And it's so freeing. I also jumped out of a plane and like really stopped being afraid of things when I jumped out of a plane like four years ago. Four and a half years ago I think, I think that was a very life-changing when you see the ground and your body is saying no. But your but your heart is saying go that sounds like a Paul Stanley lyric.
Yeah, Yeah. But you know seriously it's like I I jumped out of a plane. And it was like I did that and I'm afraid of heights. And I was like I'm not afraid of anything. That sounds so pompous saying that but like, what is there to be afraid of I jumped out of a plane.
Bagel: [01:23:58] Yeah, there's not there's nothing like facing imminent death to put your life in perspective.
Having some objectivity on your own life. Whether it's jumping out of a plane or starting your podcast or starting to go to the gym because it's something that actually matters to you. I think it's a good thing. And but in all seriousness, I do I really like that approach of being able to step back objectively and remember why you're doing something. And then also be able to like objectively analyze it to some degree. And say like this this is probably not as bad as I think or this is probably not . Yeah that's that's kind of what I'm saying.
Yeah. .Yeah It doesn't matter as much as you think it does objectively. Right It matters to you, and that's great. And that and you should do it for that reason but like objectively it's not going to like blow up the world and it's not going to solve the world. Right It's not that, consequential is probably a good way to phrase that.
Ancona: [01:25:03] One of the most freeing things that I've learned over the last year has been that basically like, there are far less people that are paying attention to the things that I am so anxious and nervous and insecure about than I could even imagine.
Bagel: [01:25:17] I will say I almost forgot about this, but I do want to say that in the spirit of of talking about the here and the now. When we're talking about this topic of starting and showing up. It took me a long time to start the reach out to you to be on this podcast. And then of course, last week I texted you when we were supposed to record this podcast and I was like heads up I've got a bad migraine. And you were okay with it. And I think there's one last little message that I wanted to throw in there which is like, you can't be perfect all the time. And there was a little bit of me that was like beating myself up over postponing something because to be honest there was like I flashed back to like earlier times in our life where not like I canceled on me for something. And I was like yeah I don't want to be that guy anymore. But the reality was like I felt like shit. And I wasn't going to show up in the way that I would I wanted to. And that I think I just I literally said the phrase I didn't even mean to, but I knew I wasn't going to show up in the way I wanted to. And I think and I know that you would probably feel the same way. It's like, it's okay. Like communication is something you value and I definitely value as well. It's okay If you can't follow through on something you had promised. As long as you make an effort to communicate, right. At least that's my take, I don't know if you have an opinion on that but a little example of kind of what happened in the midst of planning doing this recording.
Ancona: [01:26:49] Yeah, no, I totally agree. Like my my wife hates that, like I will keep her in the loop with things like "Hey I'm thinking that this is going to change." And then like an hour later it's like, "So here's the plan as of now," And like two hours later like, "Okay the plan is still the same but it could change in this way." And she's like just tell me like just tell me what we're going to do. For me like I like to communicate. No but like for me what you did was was perfect. Like I kind of was feeling a little out of it too that day. So it actually worked out cause I was like, ah I don't want to cancel on him. But like I know I'm not going to be able to really give my best. People are like Jesus is your best. But what I appreciated was that you reached out to me at like noon, we're planning to record at seven. It wasn't like at 6:45 like, Hey dude today is not gonna work man. I'm not really feeling good. It's like dude you probably didn't feel good all day. Why don't you just like keep me in the loop, like I rearranged my whole schedule for this. Like you know I'm I'm organizing putting like kids down to bed to like make sure that I could be like on time at seven. And you didn't do that. And that like I there's nothing wrong with that I've always been someone who appreciates like the, Hey just want to keep you in the loop that there's a small chance that it might get canceled today. Like it's not going to change me being ready for whatever it is that we've committed to, but it at least gives me the heads up that that's kind of on the table so that it doesn't catch me by surprise when you texted me later in the late afternoon. Like Hey it's not going to happen. And I'm like okay it's all good I kind of was ready to hear that. Or I was ready to hear, Hey man I'm ready, let's power through it. We're going to be fine.
Bagel: [01:28:26] I feel like we've covered a lot, I appreciate you for being your authentic self. The only self that you know how to bring to the table. Before we officially officially wrap it up, are there any ways that you want people to connect with you? You mentioned the Monarch Experience. Let people know kind of where they can find that and any other ways they can connect with you.
Ancona: [01:28:47] On the internet. I do like the outro where it's like you can find us on iTunes, Spotify, Google, podcasts. And then I'm like, I'm saying this to the people who are listening to the podcast who know how to find us. Like who am I trying to solicit by talking during the podcast about where you can find my podcast.
Bagel: [01:29:10] Well but now you're on my podcast. So you can tell people they can be in the same app that they're listening to this one on
Ancona: [01:29:15] Yeah Yeah
Bagel: [01:29:17]and find yours.
Ancona: [01:29:19] You can literally find the Monarch Experience podcast anywhere that podcasts are found. Spotify Google, Stitcher, breaker, who uses those as their main podcast source. Oops sorry, Google podcasts. You can find Bagel and I, our podcast with John the objective reasonable lawyer from Two States, The Count Rockula podcast if you like music. And you like to hear three idiots from Jersey Talk about music from before they were born ranking things that really don't matter in any facet of music, you can find the Count Rockula anywhere that podcasts are found .
Bagel: [01:29:53] I love the description you just gave of the Count Rockula. That was perfect. Awesome. Well, dude this this has been a lot of fun. Hopefully you didn't wake up either of your small children in recording this episode on a Monday evening.
In all seriousness. Thank you. I appreciate your your willingness to be on the show, to share a little insight into kind of how you are and how you've kind of developed the things that matter to you in your life and how you live them out. And even if some of this stuff doesn't feel like things that have a lot of effort for you now, it's like a little bit of insight into some of the things that I think sounds so simple to you. And can I think be applied to other people like literally just start like what's stopping you. That's just something I've taken away from from the conversation. So yeah man. Thank you. Can't wait to have you on again. And check out check out his podcast the Monarch Experience. If you like, what you heard, please hit subscribe in your podcast app so you get notified about all new episodes of the Live Your Values podcast with me, Bagel. Special thanks to Emma Peck for logo design, Danielle Gelber for marketing strategy, and Rebecca Kitte and my team at Free Your Time Virtual Assistants for operation support.
Until next time, get out there and LYV!